Antonio Brown MELTDOWN: Buccaneers boot star after bizarre incident, Tom Brady wants 'compassion'
Brown reportedly 'boiled over' about something, and no one could ultimately convince him to stay with the team on the sideline
Antonio Brown is not a part of Tampa Bay Buccaneer anymore after he retired mid-game during the 28-24 win against the New York Jets on Sunday, January 2, head coach Bruce Arians has confirmed. While Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium was still on, Brown ran across the end zone and headed to the team’s locker room, removing his shoulder pads and jersey. Brown was not among the players in the game when the Buccaneers trailed 24-10 at the time and were driving downfield on offence.
In a post-match news conference, Arians said, "He is no longer a Buc. That’s the end of the story.” Brown reportedly 'boiled over' about something, and no one could ultimately convince him to stay with the team on the sideline.
A video shows Brown, visibly upset and distressed, on the sideline, taking his jersey and pads off as his teammates urged him to stay. brown, shirtless, can be seen in the video throwing his undershirt into the stands, heading into the stadium's tunnel and waving a peace sign on his way.
Following the incident, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady told reporters that the incident was "obviously a difficult situation." "We all love him and care about him deeply," Brady said, noting their relationship was beyond that of just being teammates. "I think everyone should be compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening," Brady claimed that he was not aware of the incident's details until after the game was over.
Brown took to Twitter after the game, posting a photo of himself with the cryptic caption "Super Gremlin." He tweeted a link to his new single, "Pit Not The Palace", just a couple of hours later.
Just weeks before this incident, Brown had said that he was suspended in December for three games without pay after a league investigation allegedly found that he had breached Covid-19 protocols. NFL had claimed back then that Brown, along with two other players -- Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and free agent wide receiver John Franklin III -- had "misrepresented their vaccination status."
Brown played for the Pittsburgh Steelers the first nine seasons of his career after they drafted him in 2010. The player was then traded to the then-Oakland Raiders ahead of 2019. He was, however, released before playing in a regular-season game. Brown then signed with the New England Patriots. He played only one game before being released again after one of his former offseason athletic trainers filed a lawsuit accusing him of rape and assault in 2017 and 2018, allegations that Brown has maintained are false. At the time, the NFL said that was an ongoing investigation into the case. In October 2020, he signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.